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Lifespan – Abilities Illuminated

You’re Not An Employee

To:  LIFESPAN Employees (aka Ambassadors) From: Ken D. Fuquay, CEO Re: more than a Word, It’s an Attitude Early last year, I traveled to Baltimore for a conference and booked a room in a no-name out-of-the-way hotel.  That little hotel exceeded my expectations; especially their employees.  I was so enamored with their attentiveness that I asked one of the employees why it was that every employee seemed to love their job so much.  She kindly corrected me, “We’re not employees anymore.  We are all ambassadors.” I asked her to explain the difference. “Employees have a job,” she said.  “Ambassadors carry out the mission of this company.” LIFESPAN has always been mission-driven to empower the individuals we serve to reach their fullest potential.  Society may consider the individuals we serve to be the least, the last and the lost.  But you and I know differently.  The individuals we serve are gifts to be treasured and we have accepted the mission to empower them to be the best version of themselves they can possibly be. That is the mission and message of LIFESPAN. And because you are an integral part of our being able to fulfill that mission, you are not, and have never been “just an employee.”  Therefore, LIFESPAN is doing away with the term “employee” and exchanging it with “ambassador.” You are a LIFESPAN Ambassador. You are valued and your work is important.  To prove it, LIFESPAN is working hard to empower you to be the best version of yourselves by offering one of the strongest, if not the strongest, employee benefits package in our sector. LIFESPAN is an amazing organization filled with amazing people doing amazing things that transform people’s lives.  I hope you’ll embrace the role of LIFESPAN Ambassador of Empowerment with pride.  I hope you’ll share the LIFESPAN message with everyone you meet and I hope you’ll engage the mission with renewed commitment. After all, it’s not a job; it’s a mission.  You’re not an employee; you’re an ambassador. I respect each of you greatly and am honored to come along side you in this mission. Respectfully, Ken, LIFESPAN Chief Ambassador of Empowerment  

Opportunity is Knocking!

Opportunity is defined as a “set of circumstances that make it possible to do something.”  That definition begs the questions: What is a recent opportunity that you took advantage of? Who gave you an opportunity? What did you do with your opportunity? Where is your next opportunity coming from? Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes.  Someone might bless you with a monetary gift that opens up an opportunity; someone might articulate words of wisdom that help create clarity and direction for an opportunity; and an opportunity can present itself through simple acknowledgement or recognition. My opportunity to present this “Talk” for today’s “Circle Up” at LIFESPAN came by way of Christopher White.  At a recent “Circle Up,” Mr. White shared a moving story about his experience being a life coach.  I was present.  His words motivated me.  They encouraged me to recommit myself to bringing a sense of normalcy and independence to the individuals that I serve as Life Coach through LIFESPAN’s Life Works program. His words helped me see what an opportunity I have to transform people’s lives.  But, it also opened up another opportunity. I told Christopher how much his story impacted me. He encouraged me to share my story with Mr. Fuquay, LIFESPAN’s Chief Ambassador of Empowerment.  And Mr. Fuquay encouraged me to share it with all of you.  So here I am seizing the opportunity that has come to me and I am leading “Circle Up” this week. Let me repeat that…here I am, seizing an opportunity that was presented to me.  That’s why I’m standing before you. I’d like to borrow from Ms. Oprah Winfrey for minute.  You know how, in the middle of her show, she points to her guests and says, “You get a car, and you get a car and you get get a car?”  That’s what I want to say to each of you—but instead of a car, you get something better. “You get an opportunity.” And you get an opportunity and you get an opportunity… Each of you is being presented with an opportunity this very minute and you’ll be presented with more opportunities through this day. I’ve discovered that opportunities are like a great piece of Lindt Chocolate.   The outer shell is hard but the inside is ooey gooey and O so good! Opportunities can be hard and challenging, even overwhelming at first.  But, once you get past the initial jolt and you settle into how and what you are going to do with your opportunity, you eventually  reach the wonderful sensation of accomplishment and joy. You know I have to say it!  Opportunity is knocking. Will you answer it?

Seriously? Gratitude is that Powerful?

A few important words from Amy Ford, LIFESPAN Program Director for Special Instruction & Community Based Rehabilitation Services: Spring has sprung!  It is officially spring; the daffodils are poking their heads out, the cherry trees are in blossom, the grass is greening and the birds are singing verbosely. Spring gives me a profound sense of gratitude.  But, I’ve learned some important things about GRATITUDE. Some of you know that this past year has been really rough for me, personally.   Surprisingly, I have been able to stay positive and I owe a lot of that to being able to focus on the things for which I am grateful. Even in the midst of the “hard” stuff, there are things for which we can be grateful. I have always been told that focusing on the things you are thankful for helps counteract the negative things happening all around.  That’s true and since I’m an elementary school teacher, I’ve found some interesting scientific evidence to back it up. Gratitude can: (physically) give us stronger immune systems cause us to be typically less bothered with aches & pains lower our blood pressure Gratitude can: (psychologically) give us higher levels of positive emotions make us feel more alert, alive and awake help us be more optimistic & happy Gratitude can: (socially) make us more outgoing make us more forgiving make us feel less lonely & isolated Gratitude blocks toxic, negative emotions and it can reduce the frequency and duration of episodes of depression. Grateful people are more stress resistant.  Studies have shown that grateful people recover more quickly from serious trauma, adversity & suffering. Grateful people have a higher sense of self-worth. I am inspired by this quote from self-help author, Melody Beattie: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity.  Gratitude can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”  I encourage all of us to fill our lives with gratitude.  It’s better for us than a multi-vitamin. (As part of our weekly “circle-up” at LIFESPAN Shopton, Amy created a garden display and had all of us to write our “gratefuls” on a butterfly and add it to the garden.) **Why Gratitude is Good by Robert Emmons / Nov 16 2010 / greatergood.berkley.edu/article/item/why_gratitude_is_good